Testing of CFM International's advanced 3-D Woven Resin Transfer Molding (3-DW RTM) fan is proceeding on schedule and the company is achieving outstanding results.
In May, CFM completed a full-scale fan blade out rig test, simulating certification requirements for the proprietary 3-DW RTM technology. The company has also completed extensive full-scale component tests, including bird ingestion testing with the same very positive results.
"The fan blade-out test went beautifully," said Francois Bastin, director of the LEAP Program for CFM. "The fan experienced very low overall unbalance and behaved as we had predicted in pre-test simulations. We also included the composite fan case, which showed no cracks or stress defects and all parts were contained. This test was a total success and confirmed that the LEAP fan will meet all certification requirements."
Endurance testing of 3-DW RTM fan has completed, logging more than 5,000 cycles. The demanding test was designed to evaluate fan behavior within a real thermal and vibratory environment. The preliminary results have been outstanding, meeting or exceeding all pre-test predictions.
"The endurance test is an important one for us because it addresses the conditions that our customers will eventually see in operation," said Bastin. "We saw absolutely no change whatsoever on the fan blades, and we couldn't be happier with the results."
CFM initiated ground test of a full-scale 3-DW RTM fan installed on a CFM56-5C MASCOT (Moteur Aubes de Soufflante en COmposite Taille) demonstrator engine in early 2009 to validate the RTM technology.
Prior to launching the endurance test earlier this year, the MASCOT engine completed aerodynamic and performance testing at Snecma (Safran group) facilities in Villaroche, France, before being sent to GE facilities in Peebles, Ohio. It has successfully logged more than165 hours of extensive crosswind and acoustics testing to measure noise levels under various operating conditions. MASCOT will accumulate approximately 400 additional hours full-scale by year-end.
The LEAP engine is on track for certification in 2014 and entry into service in 2016 on the Airbus A320neo and COMAC C919 in 2016. To date, CFM has received orders for more than 1,100 LEAP engines to power these two aircraft types. Additionally, pending approval by the Boeing Board of Directors to offer the airplane, LEAP will also be the exclusive powerplant for the new engine 737 aircraft announced in July 2011.
CFM International is a 50/50 joint company between Snecma (Safran group) and GE. It is the world's leading producer of commercial aircraft engines, with more than 22,200 delivered since the company's formation in 1974.